Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fame (05/10/12)
TITLE: Joyful Noise
By Marilyn K. Smith
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Outside he is in his element among lawn mowers, tractors, chain saws and garden tillers--even on quiet Saturday mornings while neighbors are still asleep! Inside He unconsciously slams cabinet drawers and closet doors, rattles newspapers, and always stomps his feet when coming up the back steps. He enjoys a rip-roaring western television program, guns firing, horses galloping and cowboys yelling. And of course, the men lasting their way across sand dunes or muddy fields—Army or Marines—he’s loving it!
Then there is his singing—loud and usually off-key. He mixes words and tunes from songs and little jingles from childhood. He belts them out with no rhyme or reason other than to “entertain” me as I startle awake, wondering what in the world is happening! He does make me laugh with his silliness.
An incident from his childhood, however, occasionally brings back a memory that was not laughable.
When Jay was a small child in school, a music teacher pulled him aside and said, “Don’t sing out loud, just pantomime.” That comment by his teacher affected him all of his life. As an adult, a fellow choir member suggested that he stand in another place other than beside him. My husband loves to sing, especially old hymns, and with a group, but he shied away many times from participating because of these incidents. I was so thankful one Christmas that he did choose to participate in a cantata where a wonderful and very professional music director devoted time to him. This man worked with him individually and with two or three others in the bass section that were having some difficulties. Jay enjoyed it immensely and learned much. However, my husband’s fame continues, not singing in perfect harmony, but in “making a joyful noise.”
He has another claim to fame, however, that has vastly influenced our church. My husband is a part of our “First Impressions Group.” His responsibility is welcoming people in the parking lot of our church as they arrive. He greets them; opens their car door at times, helps carry boxes of church materials and occasionally small children! He is a people person and everyone, who wants one, gets a hug and always a big grin. Our church-goers love him! They laugh and smile and have often commented to others how welcomed they feel because of his greetings.
This is really a great work that has been done within him and the fame really all belongs to the Lord. My husband of forty-three years is so very different from what he used to be. He was once a big, bad Marine and took no sass from anyone. He had been trained as a ground soldier to fight in the Vietnam War with all the toughness that duty required. Training assuranced that you, and all those you commanded, came home alive. Now he has learned to reach out to people, forgive, and be less judgmental. He demonstrates a distinct sensitivity to people and by intently listening to what others have to say, he encourages them to share with him. People who hardly know him talk to him about all kinds of situations in their lives. This is such a change from barking orders and expecting others to follow. He continues to work on showing others the grace demonstrated by Jesus.
With all that said, in my heart and mind, his greatest and most famous element of his spiritual growth is becoming a humble pray-er. When we married, my husband prayed like he commanded the troops in Heaven, as well. It was exciting to hear him come before God’s throne, but you knew that he thought he, not God, was in charge! Early one morning recently I was sitting with him as he was reading Scripture and then he begun to pray. His sweet and simple prayer ended humbly with, “And God, I can’t wait until we get to Heaven where all people will be welcome! And, Lord, I will be able to sing beautifully, Amen.” Yes, Lord Jesus, most definitely, Amen.
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